'Toughest and most amazing day of my career:' Teresa Herd on Intel's decision to shutter in-house agency

The global creative director told of the moment she was forced to tell her team the majority had been laid off.

The head of Intel’s recently-shuttered in-house agency has spoken about "the toughest and most amazing day" of her career.

Teresa Herd, VP and global creative director, held back tears as she described the moment she told her team that the majority had been laid off during Campaign US’ Breakfast Briefing, in partnership with Wunderman, at Vox Media in New York City on Tuesday.

"We built values and behavioral norms to support our mission to make it come true," said Herd of the culture she helped build at Intel. "Each of my senior managers were responsible for bringing it to life. And I saw it come to bear last week when it was really important. I had to deliver a really tough message to that team, and everyone was so wildly gracious and thanked me for giving them the opportunity. 

"It was amazing. Heartbreaking. It was the toughest day of my career and truly the most amazing day of my career, and all because we a built a culture of people who supported each other and really cared about the business -- they all came to work the next day!"

Would she do it all again? One hundred percent.

Since the inception of Intel’s in-house shop in 2015, Herd has grown her team to more than 85 people, composed of internal resources at Agency Inside as well as a strong production and content creation arm, Intel Global Production Lab.

Herd has driven the creative to rebrand Intel -- launching Jim Parsons in a global product campaign, the 2016 Grammys program with Lady Gaga, the Super Bowl 51 integrated campaign and the Makers and Experience Amazing content series.

"I don’t think this is a trend -- this is a business decision," she said of the in-house landscape.

"Businesses change. And what we’ve built has to change to support that. What we’ve built over the past four years is going in a different direction, and that’s okay."

She added: "This has been the best job of my life."

Herd stressed that the agency is not going away -- it’s downsizing to work with a number of external agencies.

News of Intel’s in-house shuttering broke last week.

A spokesperson said in a statement at the time: "As Intel’s complex business continues to expand across more products and industries, we’re recalibrating our marketing strategy to be more B2B and ecosystem-focused. As part of this shift in strategy, we’ve decided to reduce the capabilities and evolve the focus of our internal creative agency, Intel Agency Inside," the company said in a statement.

"The needs of leading, global technology companies are always shifting in response to its market. Intel’s Agency Inside was founded to tell the brand’s untold stories to consumers and to bring brand awareness on a global scale.

"There will continue to be a subset of the team that will work alongside marketing, help shape strategies as well as work with external agencies to execute the work, very similar to how we work with external shops today. We are proud of what the Agency Inside team accomplished since it was established in 2014."

The company declined to provide specifics on the layoffs.

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